Von der Leyen unveils post-war reconstruction package for Ukraine – POLITICO

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday advocated a financial package for Ukraine that would rebuild the country and transform its economy once the war against Russia is over.

“We want Ukraine to win this war. But we also want to create the conditions for Ukraine’s post-war success,” von der Leyen said in a speech to the European Parliament, in which she also suggested an exit from Russian oil purchases and further sanctions against Moscow’s coffers.

While Western allies are pumping billions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, recent attention has focused on the incredible decimation across the country — and the dire financial situation it has created.

US President Joe Biden has already done so asked Lawmakers approve $8.5 billion in economic assistance to Ukraine as part of a $33 billion aid package. And on Wednesday von der Leyen argued that Europe also needs to move – but without proposing a specific financial figure.

“We, as Team Europe, have to do our part,” she said, to applause from MEPs.

Von der Leyen pointed out that Ukraine’s economic output will fall between 35 and 50 percent this year, citing estimates by the International Monetary Fund that the country now needs 5 billion euros every month just to cover payments and payments to maintain basic services for the citizens.

To meet this need, the Commission chief proposed an “ambitious stimulus package”. The package she envisioned would both bring funds to Ukraine and bring the economy closer to EU standards.

“It could establish a system of milestones and targets to ensure that European money really works for the people of Ukraine and is spent in accordance with EU regulations,” von der Leyen said. “It could help fight corruption – we have to do that – it could bring the legal environment up to European standards and radically improve Ukraine’s productive capacity.”

However, in order to implement her vision, von der Leyen will ultimately need the support of EU countries – meaning significant negotiations lie ahead.

The aim, von der Leyen said, is for the recovery package to speed up Ukraine’s accession to the EU – a demand Kyiv has made but which some EU countries warn will take time. The idea of ​​sending money to Ukraine conditional on economic reforms could be key to persuading countries like the Netherlands and France, which have so far been cold to EU enlargement, diplomats say.

“Finally, distinguished members, it will pave the way for Ukraine’s future within the European Union,” von der Leyen concluded.

The Commission is expected to present its response to Ukraine’s membership application ahead of a meeting of EU leaders in June.

Some diplomats say a possible compromise could be to define Ukraine as “potential candidates‘, a catchphrase currently applied to Kosovo and Bosnia – a result that falls short of what Ukraine wants. Such designation is given to countries with a clear prospect of eventual accession to the EU, without granting them full “candidate” status. Von der Leyen unveils post-war reconstruction package for Ukraine – POLITICO

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